Obama Employee Dies Stand-Up Paddleboarding Near Former President Martha’s Vineyard Home


An employee of former President Barack Obama was killed while stand-up paddle boarding near the family’s Martha’s Vineyard residence, state police and the Obamas said Monday.

Tafari Campbell, 45, went missing around 7:45 p.m. Sunday in Edgartown Great Pond, Massachusetts State Police said.

Divers recovered her body in about 8 feet of water about 100 feet offshore just before 10 a.m. Monday, state police said.

The former president and his wife Michelle Obama said Campbell «was a beloved part of our family.»

“When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House: creative and passionate about food and its ability to bring people together,” they said in a statement Monday. “In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, funny and extraordinarily kind person who made our lives a little bit brighter.”

Then-President Bush talks with White House chef Tafari Campbell on the South Lawn of the White House in 2008.File Ron Edmonds / AP

When the family left the White House, they asked Campbell to stay with them and he agreed, the Obamas said.

«He has been a part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he is gone,» they said in the statement. «Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari, especially his wife Sherise and his twin boys, Xavier and Savin, in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.»

The Obamas were not at the Martha’s Vineyard residence when the accident occurred, state police said.

Campbell, of Dumfries, Virginia, was visiting Martha’s Vineyard, police said.

Police were called after someone reported that a paddleboarder had entered the water, struggled on the surface, sank and was unable to resurface, police said. saying.

Another rower saw it sink, police said.

Authorities found Campbell’s body with side-scan sonar, according to the agency.

Edgartown Great Pond is on the southeastern shore of Martha’s Vineyard.

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